A Trio in Trouble

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Trio in Trouble

Many of us are closely following news of the ethics investigation of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, hoping that this investigation gives the world's biggest asshole (WBA) his appropriate comeuppance.

But wouldn't it be nice if a few other GOP House members got snagged by the same investigations that are examining the WBA's activities?

The Los Angeles Times reports:
DeLay landed in trouble last month over a 2000 (golf) trip to Scotland with the lobbyist. But two other congressmen and three House aides also played St. Andrews on separate junkets with the lobbyist that may have violated House rules, records show.

And, like the Texas Republican, all omitted disclosing the key role of beleaguered lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He privately raised tens of thousands of dollars for private jets and boasted of setting up golf junkets, according to documents, congressional testimony and interviews.

One of Abramoff's golf guests was Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), chairman of the little-known but powerful House Administration Committee. He said in congressional filings that his trip on a chartered jet in 2002 was sponsored and paid for by an obscure conservative think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research.

But the center's president told the Los Angeles Times that it "did not sponsor, nor did we pay" for Ney's travels.

The same nonprofit organization also was listed by then-freshman Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) after he flew to Scotland with the lobbyist in August 2003. But in response to inquiries by The Times, the center said it did not provide "a single dime" for the Feeney junket.

The think tank's blunt contradictions of the congressmen's reports raise questions about whether Ney and Feeney violated House rules and filed false documents to disguise gifts from a lobbyist.
If Feeney's name sounds familiar, it may be because a computer programmer alleged in December that Feeney asked him to develop voting software that "could alter the vote tabulation" in the election.

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